Friday, August 24, 2012

Why Not Polygamy?

In this video, Brian Anthony Bowen reveals Scriptures the Church never talks about which prove that Jesus taught that LGBT people are born this way...and that prove the Apostle Paul ordained Gay Marriage...IN THE BIBLE!

This changes EVERYTHING!
More info:


The Holy Spirit distinctly and expressly declares
that in latter times
some will turn away from the faith,
giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits
and doctrines that demons teach,
Through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars
whose consciences are seared (cauterized),

Who forbid people to marry
(1 Timothy 4:1-3)

During the video debate between Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, and Dan Savage, writer of the Savage Love column, met at Savage's home in Seattle for dinner and a debate over same sex marriage and the Bible, and the question of polygamy came up.

The question of polygamy has been one that so far the LGBT community and other same sex marriage advocates have been unable to address in a way that eliminates the expressed fears of same sex marriage leading to polygamy.  The reasoning our opponents often use is that since our argument for same sex marriage is based on non-discrimination and marriage equality, then what would prevent polygamists (even heterosexual ones) from arguing for polygamy on the same basis?  ... and how is it not hypocritical of marriage equality advocates for opposing polygamy?

In the main, the response from marriage equality advocates has been something along the lines of "well, the gay community is not seeking to enter into plural single gender marriages," and "we don't know of any polygamists who are advocating for polygamy on the same basis, and if there are any, they should be the ones who make that case in the public square."

Unfortunately, these do not address the real world example Brian Brown refers to in Canada, where heterosexual polygamists (largely of the Muslim and Mormon faiths) have indeed approached the courts for an answer regarding the apparent hypocrisy on the part of marriage equality advocates who support  (2 spouse only) same sex marriages, but not plural spouse marriages.  The concern expressed by Brian Brown's question during the debate is that the same thing could happen in America (and other countries) when same sex marriage becomes law of the land.

I hope to illustrate some distinctions that so far seem to have not yet found a voice in the public square.

While Brian makes the point that if its discrimination to deny same sex couples full legal recognition, then why is it not also discriminatory to deny polygamous marriages, whether heterosexual or homosexual?

The question poses ways to frame the debate in a way I think most advocates of single gender marriage miss, and that is that all things considered, I think Brian is right; discriminating against polygamy is the same as discriminating against same sex marriage...except for two important distinctions:

1). The Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862, signed by President Lincoln, bans marriage to more than one spouse at a time. This provides legal precedence for denying polygamous marriage recognition by the state, but cannot alone justify discrimination against same sex marriage on the same basis, because it deals with a totally different issue: plural spouses.  But there is nothing that says this law can't be deemed unconstitutional in the future if single gender marriages are legally recognized, except for:

2). Polygamy by its very nature (whether heterosexual or homosexual) presents a compelling state interest to ban them, because it impedes the state's ability to perform its fiduciary duty to regulate divorce, division of marital property, and child custody and/or alimony, palimony and/or child support payments when one of the spouses divorces the rest of the spouses.

I think it's important to remember that same sex marriage is not about "granting" a right to be obtained by our Constitution. It is a right to be "identified" and "secured," and it is a right that must not be denied without a compelling state interest.   The Prop 8 trial underscores this point really well; it's not so much a matter of same sex marriage being a Constitutional right, but more so, the question courts must answer is whether or not the state has any compelling reason for denying them.

As the overall marriage debate has been explored, I think it's clear that there is a compelling state interest in denying legal recognition of polygamous marriages, but no such compelling state interest exists that justifies the state denying legal recognition of same sex marriages. 

Most marriage equality advocates respond by saying something along the lines of "traditionally speaking, polygamous marriage in the context of the Bible were comprised of one man and multiple women" or "I don't know of any example of polygamy that's been one woman and multiple men, or multiple same sex partners."

But with Brian's question, he specifically asked "what about 3 women" or "what about 3 men?"   While polygamy has historically been between one man and multiple women, so too has monogamous marriage been traditionally heterosexual in nature.

What I think Brian Brown gets at is the converse of the point he makes: arguing against polygamy based on its traditionally defined nature is the same as arguing against same sex marriages based on traditionally defined heterosexual marriages.  In other words, Brian was implying that if we are going to discriminate against polygamy based on "it's just wrong," then he should be free to discriminate against same sex marriage based on "it's just wrong" as well.

That's why I think it's a stronger argument to make the distinctions based on the state's responsibility for regulating what happens when either marriage paradigm doesn't work out (i.e. divorce, child custody, palimony payments, division of marital assets, etc.)

Either way, Dan didn't take the bait, and brought up a great observation in that polygamy also denies equality to (even opposite gender couples), by presenting an impediment to men having an equal shot at heterosexual marriage as the few men who can afford to support multiple wives.

But as we can see this has clearly been a concern since same sex marriage first came up for discussion in the public square, and I think it's important for marriage equality advocates to be prepared with a stronger basis that can assure concerned parties that same sex marriage will not lead to polygamous marriages, as well as why.   Doing so frames the debate not based on "I'm gay and have a Constitutional right to marry a man," but rather,

"I'm gay, and the Constitution bars anyone from preventing me to marry one, non-related, consenting adult of my choice, regardless of their gender identity."

Of course this brings us to why marriage equality opponents oppose polygamy, which in America is deeply rooted in the Mormon church's ability to outpace the growth of other Christian denominations vis-a-vis accelerated rates of procreation that polygamous marriages lend themselves to. 

While I absolutely agree that the polygamy argument (as well as all other arguments from our opponents) have proven to be red herrings, to those who share the concern, I believe it still needs to be addressed in a way that shows the concern is unwarranted. Just declaring it to be a red herring doesn't really do that, I don't think.

I believe that leaving the question of polygamy unanswered (whether gay or straight) means it isn't going away, as evidenced by the fact it has been presented as a concern by our opponents since the early public discourse on marriage equality first began. 

Just because we or they may not know of anyone who is currently seeking multiple spouse same sex marriages, doesn't demonstrate how polygamy should be discriminated against because of the compelling state interests articulated earlier, while at the same time demonstrating why same sex marriage should not be prohibited on the same basis.

While I understand it can be frustrating to even have to dignify the point with a response, if we want to overcome the objection successfully, I believe we must do more than just point out how remote the possibility seems to us currently and personally, by demonstrating how and why the law already prevents polygamy, (whether same sex marriage becomes law of the land or not), and how marriage equality for same sex marriages will not lead to (even heterosexual) polygamous marriages...

...and more importantly, why we think it is *not* hypocritical for same sex marriageadvocates to continue to oppose polygamy, even while advocating under the banner of "marriage equality."

Again, the polygamy comparison is an original debate point that has not been adequately addressed by our side to the point that folks like Dan Savage are able to rattle it off the top of his head.  I think developing a sound response drives one more nail in the coffin of the bigotry that stands against us, and again, I believe it frames the debate to answer the questions the courts are actually going to ask:

Is there a compelling government interest in prohibiting polygamy?

Clearly, the answer is yes.

Does that same compelling government interest then also justify prohibiting same sex marriage?

Clearly the answer is no.

The example Brian Brown gave pertaining to heterosexuals in Canada seeking to grant legal recognition to polygamous heterosexual marriages is in fact true. (Largely the argument in Canada stems from religious based plural marriages pertaining to people of the Muslim and Mormon faiths who believe in heterosexual polygamy. They argue that since Canada recognizes same sex marriage based on non-discrimination, that they must also recognize polygamous heterosexual marriages on the same basis).

Our opponents fear the same can happen in America, not only in regards to Muslims, but the Mormons as well....and not necessarily in the context of single gender polygamous marriages, but even heterosexual ones.

My point is we can't make events in Canada untrue -- (nor can we allay fears of the same events transpiring in America) -- just by saying that we don't know of any LGBT people seeking single gender polygamous marriages, and that we do know of LGBT people seeking single gender monogamous marriages.   I believe the legal considerations I articulated are a step toward that goal, and I hope other equally strong arguments emerge as well.

While asking some hypothetical "what will gays marrying lead to?" does nothing constructive to real life same sex couples who are in need of the state and federal benefits of marriage that most heterosexuals take for granted, I believe all will agree that upon further consideration, answering the question does!

...and we need all the help we can get!

Related Articles:

God Sanctioned Gay Marriage Which explores a variety of Scriptures that appear to demonstrate that the Apostle Paul ordained single gender holy matrimony for people whom Jesus exempted from heterosexual marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, (even while addressing one of the famous clobber passages from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10), and the implications it would have on the Christian Church if true.

Born This Way  Which explores Scriptures that the Church has been reluctant to talk about, and even less enthusiastic to teach. It demonstrates Jesus taught LGBTQIQ people are born so from our mothers' wombs to fulfill a prophetically vital purpose not only in the spiritual life of the Christian Church, but also in the return of Jesus Christ.

After Gay Marriage Which illustrates why especially the Church, but also many anti-gay organizations truly fear same sex marriage becoming law of the land.

Frequently Asked Questions Which re-examines the most common traditional Christian teachings regarding the Scriptures pertaining to same gender sexual expresions.

Questions and comments can be emailed to

Thanks for taking the time!

08.31.12 EDIT TO ADD:

I received this in response to the blog, with permission from the author to include here.  It provides a detailed examination of polgyamy vs. single gender marriage in Canada, where same sex marriages are legal, and polygamy remains illegal, and why:

I'm surprised that Americans don't seem to realize that Canada has already ruled that polygamy is illegal. The question arose because of Muslim immigrants who wanted to marry more than one wife, and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of Bountiful, British Columbia. The argument of both these groups was that Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants freedom of religion, and that their religion happens to embrace polygamy. They ignored the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada had already ruled on several occasions that religious rights cannot trump Canadian law.

In 2011, thirteen groups, both pro and con polygamy, presented Briefs to Chief Justice Robert Bauman of BC Supreme Court, who was asked by the government to rule on whether or not S. 293 CC, proscribing polygamy, was constitutional. The judge took four months to study the Briefs, then brought down his decision on November 23, 2011. He ruled that, based on all the evidence, polygamy harmed ALL society in that it contravened women's equality rights and impoverished their children, and because Nature has made the sexes almost equal in number (there aren't even two women for every one man), should rich males collect many women as concubines, it would rob poorer men of the chance to have a wife and family of their own, which would result in severe social disorder. His decision was greeted with great relief by mainstream Canadians, particularly mainstream women who saw the attempt to legalize polygamy as an attempt to reduce their status to second-class citizenship.

Polygamy comes from the cruel dark ages when women had no rights whatsoever and were treated as chattels. There is no place in the modern world for women being collected as concubines in harems. The year is 2012 AD, not 2012 BC.

Regarding same sex marriage, which is legal in Canada. Same sex marriage still involves only two people, both of whom have equal rights and equal responsibilities. This is not the case with polygamy, where one man lords it over many women, all of whom are in competition with one another for his attention to them and their children. As well, only the first, legal wife and her children are entitled to share in the man's health insurances, pensions and tax benefits. The remaining women and their children are on their own and face poverty. Judge Bauman took all this into consideration when he brought down his decision.

I hope this information is of use to you, and that you will publish it in your newsletter. Americans need to learn that polygamy in Canada is regarded as a contravention of women's equality rights. 

Jancis M. Andrews

PS:   I've just realized I didn't add the name of the group I work with. It's called "Stop Polygamy in Canada," and was founded by Nancy Mereska of Two Hills, Alberta, herself an escapee from a strict Mormon marriage. I'd be grateful if you'd add the group's name to the bottom of my email to you.

The group has waged a fierce battle for many years to get the BC government to lay charges against those male elders in the polygamous cult of Bountiful (the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) who have threatened underage girls that if they didn't agree to polygamy and become "celestial wives" i.e., concubines in Bountiful's harems, their immortal souls would burn for ever in Hell. This is an evil cult where a corrupt and twisted version of the Christian religion provides middle-aged men with an excuse for a sex fest. The hearing before Chief Justice Bauman was the result of our group's work, allied with hundreds of thousands of Canadians who were outraged that the BC government would abandon very young girls to be raped and impregnated in the name of Jehovah God.

Canada does not have clean hands on this issue, but at long last our reluctant government is being forced to take action. Many of us feel that those many government officials who knew about the sexual abuse of Bountiful's girl children, but who did nothing to stop it, are as criminal as the criminals themselves, and should be jailed along with them. Unfortunately, that won't happen, since Canadians are not allowed to sue the attorney-general, neither for what he has done, nor for what he has NOT done. How's that for democracy? 

My heartfelt thanks goes to Jancis for the info!


Dear Valued Readers,
This blog continues to be a work in progress. As recent revelations and events throughout Christendom have created an increasingly fluid situation, updates will no longer be published at the end of each post, but rather only at the beginning of the corresponding posts so impacted.  As of August 1, 2013, the only updates to appear at the end of each post will be churches that are personally endorsed by The Bed Keeper as a "SAFE SPACE."

Readers may email to discuss or comment on any posting.  Please note that while all feedback is highly valued and appreciated, it may not be possible to reply to each email.
UPDATE 01.15.12:
Lakewood Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

UPDATE 11.22.11:

Eagle Mountain International Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

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